Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Recuse, Antonin

WaPo: Retired Generals Want Scalia Off Gitmo Case

Hamdan's lawyers have not called for Scalia to step aside. Instead, five retired generals who support Hamdan's arguments sent a letter late Monday to the court with the request that Scalia withdraw from participating in the case. They say Scalia appears to have prejudged the case.

The retired generals said Scalia's speech in Switzerland "give rise to the unfortunate appearance that ... the justice had made up his mind about the merits" of Hamdan's arguments.

In the speech, first reported by Newsweek, Scalia repeated his views from 2004 that enemy combatants held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, should not have access to U.S. courts and traditional legal rights.


The letter came from five retired generals and admirals: Navy Rear Adm. Donald J. Guter; Navy Rear Adm. John D. Hutson; Vice Adm. Lee F. Gunn; Marine Brig. Gen. David M. Brahms; and Army Brig. Gen. James P. Cullen.

I doubt this show of military might and right will influence chickenhawk Scalia. (Originally I typed 'chickhawk' Scalia, one of the funniest typos ever.)

In today's print edition, WaPo:

Scalia's Recusal Sought in Key Detainee Case
Retired Officers Say Justice's Impartiality Is in Question After Remarks on Combatants

In a letter delivered to the court late yesterday, a lawyer for the retired officers cited news reports of Scalia's March 8 remarks to an audience at the University of Freiburg in Switzerland. Scalia reportedly said it was "crazy" to suggest that combatants captured fighting the United States should receive a "full jury trial," and dismissed suggestions that the Geneva Conventions might apply to detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Scalia's remarks "give rise to the unfortunate appearance that, even before briefing was complete, he had already made up his mind" about issues in the case, the lawyer, David H. Remes, wrote. Noting that Scalia reportedly had discussed the rights of accused terrorists in the context of his son Matthew's recent tour as an Army officer in Iraq, Remes wrote that this creates an appearance of "personal bias arising from his son's military service."


In his letter to the court, Remes said Scalia's reported reference to the Geneva Conventions was of particular concern to the retired officers as it is directly at issue in the case. Their brief supports the view of the petitioner, Salim Ahmed Hamdan, that the conventions apply to him and could entitle him to a court-martial trial like that which U.S. soldiers receive.

Other calls for Scalia's recusal came yesterday from the Center for Constitutional Rights, a civil rights organization that supports the challenge to the military commissions, and from Rep. John D. Conyers (Mich.), the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.

Previous posts: Ethics, Schmethics (March 27, 2006)

Scalia: 'Flipping a middle finger to his critics'
(March 27, 2006)

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